Apple Reverses Course on Ban for Apps Incentivizing Ad Watching, Social Sharing

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jun 24, 2014.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Earlier this month, Apple began cracking down on some of the methods developers use to monetize their apps, rejecting some apps that offered rewards for viewing videos and sharing content on social networks.

    Developers were understandably upset about this policy change, as offering opt-in ads in the form of rewards for video watching provided a way to generate revenue without significantly disrupting gameplay. Providing in-game currency, extra lives, or another incentive for watching an advertisement has become common in freemium games.

    Apple now appears to have reversed course on its decision to reject apps for using these promotional methods, with TechCrunch noting that Apple has ceased rejecting apps for using incentivized ads and has changed its opinion on some previously rejected apps.
    While Apple is allowing developers to continue to offer an in-app reward for users who watch a video or post about an app on social media, the company is still rejecting apps that offer incentives to users for reviewing an app, rating an app, or downloading another app, as reviews and ratings can affect an app's position on the Top Charts.

    Manipulating the App Store charts is explicitly forbidden in Apple's app guidelines under rule 3.10, which states that developers who attempt to "manipulate or cheat the user reviews or chart ranking in the App Store with fake or paid reviews or any other inappropriate methods" can be removed from the Developer program. Thus, under Apple's new rules, developers appear to be able to allow users to watch ads for other apps, but are unable to encourage users to download those apps.
    This change will likely be a relief to developers who rely on such incentives to promote their apps to a wider audience. iOS 8 is will also bring several changes to the App Store that will help increase app discovery, including an improved App Store search algorithm, an "Explore" feature that makes it easier to find apps, and app bundles that offer several apps together for a discounted price.

    Article Link: Apple Reverses Course on Ban for Apps Incentivizing Ad Watching, Social Sharing
  2. DarkWinter macrumors member

    Feb 29, 2012

    Well that didn't last long at all. I was hoping this was the start of a much needed change so this is disappointing news indeed.
  3. Lord Hamsa macrumors 6502a

    Jul 16, 2013
    That's a good correction. The initial change was a bit too draconian. What's wrong with opting in to watch an ad?
  4. redkamel macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2006
    I wish there was an option to search on the App Store for apps that have no ads, or for apps with no in app purchases.
  5. sransari macrumors 6502

    Feb 11, 2005
    I for one like some of these creative ways in which freemium developers can monetize their apps, and wasn't understanding Apple's initial resistance. If people don't like the way an app generates revenue, then they don't have to use those apps. It didn't make sense for Apple to reject these apps just because some people don't like them.
  6. goobot macrumors 603


    Jun 26, 2009
    long island NY

    "Basically, developers are fine to reward viewing video ads, whether for their own apps, those belonging to others, or brand ads, but they can't reward anything that also has a direct download piece to it."

    Sounds like they partly fixed the issue.
  7. addicted44 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 6, 2005
    Even if the change wasn't draconian, it still underscores the fundamental problem with Apple's App Store policies. They are arbitrary, and Apple changes them far too easily, without any notice.

    Apple needs to have a well laid out process which potentially includes a developer input step so a dev doesn't wake up in the morning having quit his day job based on the sales of his app in the past year, only to find Apple has yanked his app from the store.

    Apple's current policies create tremendous uncertainty for devs.
  8. Dagless macrumors Core


    Jan 18, 2005
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    I enjoy playing games so I'll just stick to my Vita and 3DS. Can't believe how "cheap" gaming is on mobiles now.
  9. Zxxv macrumors 68030

    Nov 13, 2011
    whats wrong with playing and app and not having ads at all?

    what next, knives forks and spoons that give you an electric shock unless you listen to an add mid meal :p

    ads are bloody everywhere :(
  10. Kryckter macrumors 6502


    Mar 12, 2009
    Developers have to make money or you wouldnt have good apps. Look at where the app store has come in 6 years. Apps were expensive and the free ones were bad at the start. Take away the money and the good talent will develop for something else...
  11. AngerDanger macrumors 68030

    Dec 9, 2008
    Oh, darn, I guess I'll have to stick to using my measly intellect to discern cheap, IAP-driven apps from quality, lovely apps. This should be incredibly difficult. :rolleyes:

    Seriously, if you don't like freemium apps, avoid them. They're great revenue generators for those who develop them and hours of fun for those who like them.
  12. Teste macrumors 6502

    Jan 8, 2011
    The app store feels like a flea market now. It has thousands of incredibly bad apps trying to deceive people into giving them a top position in the charts, with clone after clone, while the very few really good apps get lost in the sea of mediocrity.
  13. Klae17 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 15, 2011
    It's an OPT in, you aren't forced to watch it. Even if you were, the developers need to make money, you know, to live.
  14. OneBagTravel macrumors 6502


    Oct 18, 2013
    I've given up on iOS games for the most part. They're all this freemium crap anyway. Ended up purchasing a 3DS XL instead. Having much more fun :eek:
  15. hayesk macrumors 65816

    May 20, 2003
    The good talent could make a good game and charge a reasonable amount of money up front.
  16. Moonjumper macrumors 68000

    Jun 20, 2009
    Lincoln, UK
    Incentivised ads allow the developer to earn, while the gamer gets to play for free. Those who don't want ads can pay not to see them. Everyone wins.
  17. Kryckter macrumors 6502


    Mar 12, 2009
    I dont think so anymore, maybe a few years ago yes. But now with all the freemium out there not many people are wanting to pay anythign up front.
  18. tmoerel macrumors 6502

    Jan 24, 2008
    Not true....sometimes the developer loses! I for one do positively despise any app saying that they are free and then ramming ads down my throat and/or telling me i can have an ad free version through an in app purchase.
    I find this dishonest. I'd rather pay some money upfront not to have to deal with bloody ads. Freemium is nothing else but a leech model.

    And yes, I am an app developer and I will never submit anyone to ads. Advertising is the festering sore in the view of the modern world......yuck!
  19. Northgrove macrumors 65816

    Aug 3, 2010
    Yes, that would be the best, or if not that, at least an "AD" label similar to the in-app purchase one. I don't think it's fair to make the ad supported versions compete on common ground (regarding the app store listings) with those with no ads and a higher price instead. Ad stickers would make the competition more fair and paid apps more competitive. We really need to let non-free apps be a good alternative for developers.
  20. macrumors 68000

    May 25, 2012
    Wow i didnt think anything could get Apple to change their minds once set. I wonder what go them to change.
  21. ZacNicholson macrumors 6502a


    Jun 25, 2011
  22. bpeeps macrumors 68020


    May 6, 2011
    Purchase the app. Free doesn't grow on trees or without its restrictions.
  23. avanpelt macrumors 68020

    Jun 2, 2010
    If the user wants to watch an ad in exchange for some reward in a game, more power to them. If they don't want to watch an ad, they seemingly don't have to. User choice is a good thing.

    This policy won't have any effect on me since I don't play many games to begin with. I have maybe 8 games on my iPhone out of the 200 apps I have installed.
  24. iSee macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2004
    I guess this is good. Personally, I can't imagine chosing to view an ad in order to keep playing a game. I guess this must be an acceptable way for some to play games cheap? Who am I to judge? I've spent untold hours watching and listening to the most inane ads imaginable on TV and Radio (back when I didn't have another choice) And let me tell you, a lot of that music and TV was incredibly crappy in its own right... "Suh, Suh, Sudio..." argh, it's in my head again!
  25. Moonjumper macrumors 68000

    Jun 20, 2009
    Lincoln, UK
    I am also an app developer. I would rather my apps be paid upfront as it is simpler and less work. But a free app allows more people to experience a game, and that is what the market has chosen. And ads, particularly incentivised ones, allow a developer to get their income from a wider proportion of their players, rather than concentrate it all on the small percentage who will buy IAP.

    There is no dishonesty at all. Watching ads to get something free is common across many forms of media, and widely understood. TV, radio and websites all use adverts to allow them to operate without charging the customer, including the website you are viewing now: MacRumors.

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